Friday, March 14, 2014

1930 - The Year in Review

The first year in which the true Best Picture actually won the award. Watching Lewis Milestone's unflinching depiction of World War I today, one can still feel the impact it must have had on 1930 audiences (and many of its techniques are still being used in war films; you can see a lot of Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan in it). I still have strong emotions for Wladyslaw and Irene Starewicz's animated feature, though, and feel it's had a tremendous influence on the industry, even if many people these days don't know of its existence. The Starewiczs worked with full-sized puppets, and that made their films so much more expressive than almost any other stop-motion work out there (you can instantly see their effect on directors like Ray Harryhausen and Wes Anderson). That unique decision of theirs, alone, made my choice for director so much easier. With the addition of sound in the mix, the range of acting now is wider, so finally Supporting Actor and Actress categories can be added. It's still a little too early to add scoring awards though, since much music for these movies comes from previously existing sources (otherwise, "Hooray for Captain Spalding" from Animal Crackers would definitely win best song, with "Makin' Whoopie" from Whoopie coming in second, and "Falling in Love Again" from The Blue Angel coming in third). The Bat Whispers, I should note, is a marvel from that time period--the first film ever shown in 70 mm, and an early superhero entry; Just Imagine, too, is an groundbreaking sci-fi marvel for its set design. As for the short films, I had to go for Mickey Mouse again, and for Laurel and Hardy, finally. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are in no way reflective of the choices made by the Oscars.

PICTURE: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Lewis Milestone, US), followed by: The Tale of the Fox (Wladyslaw and Irene Starewicz, France); Earth (Alexander Dovzhenko, USSR), Morocco (Josef Von Sternberg, US), Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, UK), The Blue Angel (Josef Von Sternberg, Germany), L’Age d’Or (Luis Buñuel, France/Spain), Animal Crackers (Victor Heerman, US), The Dawn Patrol (Howard Hawks, US), Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, US), The Bat Whispers (Roland West, US)

DIRECTOR: Wladyslaw and Irene Starewicz, THE TALE OF THE FOX (2nd: Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front, followed by: Alexander Dovzhenko, Earth; Josef Von Sternberg, The Blue Angel; Alfred Hitchcock, Murder; Luis Buñuel, L’Age d’Or

ACTOR: Emil Jannings, THE BLUE ANGEL (2nd: Lew Ayres, All Quiet on the Western Front, followed by: Walter Huston, Abraham Lincoln; Herbert Marshall, Murder; Lon Chaney, The Unholy Three; Gary Cooper, Morocco) 

ACTRESS: Marlene Dietrich, THE BLUE ANGEL (2nd: Greta Garbo, Anna Christie, followed by: Marie Dressler, Min and Bill; Marlene Dietrich, Morocco; Norma Shearer, The Divorcee)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Louis Wolheim, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (2nd: Adolphe Menjou, Morocco, followed by: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., The Dawn Patrol; James Finlayson The Dawn Patrol; Edward Everett Horton, Holiday)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Beryl Mercer, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (2nd: Una Merkel, Abraham Lincoln, followed by: Jean Harlow, Hell’s Angels; Marie Dressler, Anna Christie; Maude Eburne, The Bat Whispers)

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): THE BARNYARD CONCERT (Walt Disney, US) (2nd: Barnacle Bill (Dave Fleischer, US), followed by: The Fire Fighters (Walt Disney, US))

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): ANOTHER FINE MESS (James Parrott, US) (2nd: The Golf Specialist (Monte Brice, US), followed by: School's Out (Robert F. McGowan, US))

SCREENPLAY: George Abbott, Maxwell Anderson and Del Andrews, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (2nd: John Monk Saunders, The Dawn Patrol, followed by: Morrie Ryskind, Animal Crackers; Horace Jackson, Holiday)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ray June and Robert H. Plank, THE BAT WHISPERS (2nd: Lee Garmes, Morocco, followed by: Wladyslaw Starewicz, The Tale of the Fox; Arthur Edeson, All Quiet on the Western Front; Ernest Palmer, Just Imagine)

ART DIRECTION: JUST IMAGINE, The Tale of the Fox, Morocco

COSTUME DESIGN: MORACCO, The Tale of the Fox, Just Imagine 


SOUND: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, The Bat Whispers, Hell's Angels

ANIMATED FEATURE: THE TALE OF THE FOX (Wladyslaw and Irene Starewicz, France)

1 comment:

Joel Bocko said...

Finally getting to catch up with this series - love the incorporation of video clips (that Bat Whispers trailer with modern music & cutting is great - I can't believe I've never seen the film before! I'll try to watch it soon - the photography and design look just incredible).

I thought I'd just sample a minute or so of the All Quiet & Story of the Fox clips but found myself watching for a lot longer. Both great films, and I'm glad you devote so much space to discussing the Starewicz movie, so underrated and absolutely gorgeous.

Although it's sort of redundant, since my own picks are already on the Wonders thread (albeit the one listed under '29's results), I'll re-list my picks here just for fun:

Feature: Blood of a Poet
Short: The Gorilla Mystery
Director: Jean Cocteau (Blood of a Poet)
Actor: Gary Cooper (Morocco) (it could go to Jannings, but I’ve given it to him 2 or 3 times now so let’s spread the wealth)
Actress: Marlene Dietrich (The Blue Angel)
S. Actor: Adolphe Menjou (Morocco)
S. Actress: Norah Baring (Murder!)
Screenplay: L’Age d’Or
Cinematography: The Tale of the Fox
Editing: All Quiet on the Western Front

Honorable Mention: Earth

At least that's what I thought 2 years ago...